Dani Pedrosa has won the past two MotoGP events at the Sepang circuit. Dani Pedrosa has won the past two MotoGP events at the Sepang circuit. Photo courtesy motogp.com

Pedrosa tops first day in Malaysia

Written by  on Friday, 24 October 2014 08:01

Dani Pedrosa’s best time in MotoGP™ FP1 at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix made him Friday’s fastest rider, with Aleix Espargaro and Jorge Lorenzo also in the top three - after the FP2 run was delayed and affected by rain at Sepang.

In a wet afternoon outing Lorenzo led the way from Marc Marquez, with Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Espargaro also in FP2 the top five.

But the FP1 times set in the dry are what counts on the combined timesheets, which contribute to the provisional Q2 automatic participation spots. Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) set a 2:01.379 lap to give him the lead in FP1.

This time was within the race lap record from last year. Pedrosa has an excellent record at the Sepang circuit, having won there in 2013 and 2012, along with four other podium visits in the MotoGP™ class.

“We were able to ride in the dry this morning and set some good times, but in the afternoon the rain arrived,” Pedrosa explained. “We shall see what the weather is like tomorrow, and hope to get more dry track time to finish analyzing the performance of the front and rear tires. We only used the soft compound this morning and we would like to try the harder compound.

“I had a problem with the wet rear, which had hardly any tire wear after 14 laps, but no grip from the beginning. We hope to continue developing the setup of the bike tomorrow and be able to ride with a tire that works well.”

Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) trailed by just 0.014s in second place, while Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was just 0.037s down on Pedrosa in third and Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was fourth in the morning run.

Confidence and a basic bike setting from the pre-season tests provided Espargaro with a strong base to work from across the Friday sessions.

“We were competitive here in the pre-season test, so that gave us a good base to work off,” said Espargaro. “I’m really happy about we started here in Malaysia. I was excited for this GP. I hope it doesn’t rain in the race as we might have to stop the race because it rains so hard here.

“Every day in the afternoon it rains! As soon as it was OK to try I left the pits in the wet. I felt great, but we had some problems with the electronics. There was a lot of spin so I really had to work hard on the throttle to control it all.  I was competitive and close to third, we just need to beat my brother [Pol], [Bradley] Smith and [Andrea] Iannone.”

Regardless of conditions Lorenzo believes he can mount a strong challenge come Sunday.

“We hope to either have a completely wet race or a completely dry race, but not something in between because that would be difficult for everyone,” he said. “In the wet I was really satisfied and happy. Midway through the practice I was pushing really hard and was feeling very good. My lap time was two seconds quicker than anyone else! Finally Marc and Dani improved at the end of the practice, but at that moment I was really fast.

“Valentino was having some problems, so this means our setting was working very well and I was feeling great on the bike. On the dry in the morning I also felt good from the beginning. I finished in third, which is like a second place because Aleix put on the extra soft tire. Dani seems to be strong here on the dry, like always, but I think we can fight for the win.”

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team), Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) completed Friday’s top 10.

Andrea Iannone arrived this weekend at Sepang already carrying heavy knocks from a crash at Phillip Island and he had another spill on Friday in Malaysia after contact with Marc Marquez in free practice.

During a wet-dry FP2 Iannone Iannone crashed after Marquez touched his left arm as the riders lapped the Sepang track in tricky conditions.

The Italian suffered a severe contusion to his left arm but will still try to get back on track on Saturday, hoping that medical treatment will take the maximum effect.

Marquez visited the Pramac Racing garage after the incident apologizing and admitting his error. Race Direction spoke to the riders but no further action was taken.

In Moto2™ FP2 at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix the session started on a wet-drying track and the fastest rider was Tito Rabat, followed by Johann Zarco and Maverick Viñales on the combined timesheets.

Torrential rain had fallen earlier in the afternoon, meaning the FP2 session was slightly delayed and many riders remained in their pit boxes as they waited for the track to dry.

Championship leader and title hopeful Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) eventually set an excellent 2:07.729 time at the end of FP2 to lead the way, with Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) second overall courtesy of his 2:08.048, which was the best lap in FP1. Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) was second best in FP2 and third on combined times.

Also in the top five overall were Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Sitag) and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), who were fourth and fifth respectively and both set their best time in the morning.

Wrapping up Friday’s Moto3™ Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix action, Niccolo Antonelli was in front of the rest in FP2, with Jakub Kornfeil and Alex Marquez also in the top three.

Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) registered a 2:13.583 lap late in the session to take over at the top. Kornfeil (Calvo Team) was 0.016s behind in second place with Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) third and just 0.021s from P1 himself.

Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was 0.027s down in fourth, with Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG) fifth and 0.163s off Antonelli’s pace.

--From motogp.com

MotoGP Practice Results (courtesy Repsol Honda)

Pos.

Rider

Num.

Nation

Team

Constructor

Time/Gap

1

Dani Pedrosa

26

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

2'01.379

2

Aleix Espargaro

41

ESP

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

2'01.393

3

Jorge Lorenzo

99

ESP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

2'01.416

4

Marc Marquez

93

ESP

Repsol Honda Team

HONDA

2'01.670

5

Stefan Bradl

6

GER

LCR Honda MotoGP

HONDA

2'01.716

6

Valentino Rossi

46

ITA

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

YAMAHA

2'01.842

7

Andrea Dovizioso

4

ITA

Ducati Team

DUCATI

2'01.971

8

Cal Crutchlow

35

GBR

Ducati Team

DUCATI

2'02.171

9

Yonny Hernandez

68

COL

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

2'02.209

10

Pol Espargaro

44

ESP

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

2'02.248

11

Andrea Iannone

29

ITA

Pramac Racing

DUCATI

2'02.597

12

Bradley Smith

38

GBR

Monster Yamaha Tech 3

YAMAHA

2'02.627

13

Alvaro Bautista

19

ESP

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

2'02.722

14

Hiroshi Aoyama

7

JPN

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

2'02.847

15

Scott Redding

45

GBR

Go & Fun Honda Gresini

HONDA

2'02.898

16

Karel Abraham

17

CZE

Cardion AB Motoracing

HONDA

2'02.935

17

Hector Barbera

8

ESP

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

2'03.220

18

Nicky Hayden

69

USA

Drive M7 Aspar

HONDA

2'03.787

19

Alex De Angelis

15

RSM

NGM Mobile Forward Racing

YAMAHA

2'04.454

20

Michael Laverty

70

GBR

Paul Bird Motorsport

ART & PBM

2'04.553

21

Danilo Petrucci

9

ITA

IodaRacing Project

IODA-SUTER

2'04.658

22

Mike Di Meglio

63

FRA

Avintia Racing MotoGP

FTR-KAWASAKI

2'05.007

23

Broc Parkes

23

AUS

Paul Bird Motorsport

PBM

2'06.195

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John Hopkins

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